Today, we’re talking about making summer relationships last. In Ask An Editor, Her Campus Editors answer readers’ questions about how to be a human. This month, Her Campus’s Deputy Editor, Iman Hariri-Kia, hosts office hours about summer flings.
How do I get into a relationship over the summer and make it last?
Hot Mess Summer
Dear Hot Mess Summer,
Boy, do I have good news for you! Before joining Her Campus as Deputy Editor, I spent years working in the sex and relationships space. Do you know what that means? A: I always give my friends vibrators for their birthdays. B: Relationship advice is my bread and butter. Here, step into my office.
Summer flings have been romanticized since the beginning of time (well, since the 1978 debut of Grease), and for a good reason. A season is temporary in nature, which means a “summer break” can mark an actual change in the tides of everyday life. Plus, let’s not sleep on the fact that warm weather literally makes people hornier (I love science). In other words, you have the perfect recipe for a romantic tryst. For three months, you get to reinvent yourself: become whoever you want to be, introduce that person to new people, and wipe the slate clean. But the dark underbelly of the summer fling? Your relationship comes with an inherent expiration date. Or does it?
I’m going to tell you a little secret: In many ways, my current boyfriend should have been a summer fling. We went to college together and had many mutual friends, but never really clicked until we both worked in New York the summer before our senior year. Our relationship status went from friends to friends(?) one night in late June, when we ran into each other while both trying to simultaneously Irish exit from a club. We confessed to one another how much we hated loud, crowded bars, then spent the rest of the night talking platonically until the sun rose. The following day, I knew something had shifted between us. But I was hesitant to make a move because I knew summer would soon come to a close. Everything would be different come fall, right?
We’ve now been together for five years, and I’m so glad I didn’t listen to that little voice inside my head that told me that summer relationships aren’t made to last. So, without further ado, here are my tips for solidifying a summer fling — and they’re probably not what you think.
Summer Relationships Are Just Relationships, In The Summer
Did you know that we, as human beings, have the power to attach (or detach!) meaning to everything and anything? But by trying to fold your feelings neatly into little color-coded boxes, you can add an insurmountable amount of pressure onto every interaction. Instead of being so hyper-focused on getting into a relationship that won’t expire like a carton of almond milk, shift your attention toward establishing authentic connections with the people around you. Do you even like the person you’re talking to, or do you just like the idea of being in a relationship? Are you falling for them, or do you hate being alone with your thoughts? Focus on the former sentiment, not the latter. Ask questions, tell stories, and, above all else, remain engaged. Hell, I remember asking my boyfriend to teach me how to use a lighter. Romantic relationships are just like any other kinds of relationships: They require two individuals to cross their wires long enough to truly spark.
Summer Relationships Require Checking In With Yourself
Once you’ve established that you’ve actually connected with the person you’re talking to (and are not just focused on “getting into a relationship”), how do you make it last? By staying present, and constantly checking in with yourself and your partner. I know this sounds so lame, but I believe it with every fiber of my being: Communication is the cornerstone of a healthy and happy relationship. On paper, I’m in a five-year-old relationship, but I’m actually in a brand new relationship every single day (which also means every day is my one-day anniversary… lol). Wtf does that mean? That a relationship is only as strong as its individuals, and people aren’t stagnant; they’re ever-evolving. I’m a new version of myself every single day, with slightly different wants, needs, and desires — and my partner is, too. So, logically, if there are two new people in a relationship every 24 hours, that means that the couple gets a clean slate, too. People can grow together, but they can also grow apart. It’s only natural! If you keep checking in, you’ll be able to decipher when it’s time to go your separate ways — whether that’s two months into summer, or two years later.
Your Most Important Summer Relationship Is With Yourself
That’s right, Honey Bunches of Oats. Go ahead, roll your eyes and cringe. I don’t care because it’s true: If you focus on having a summer romance with yourself that’s built to last, any other kind of summer loving you come across will just be a tasty treat, like a cold Spongebob popsicle on a hot August day. So, instead of roaming the dating apps and swiping to swipe, or talking up that one person at the bar who offered to buy you a drink, but can’t remember your name (Yeah. I went there.), go dance with your best friends to Olivia Rodrigo until your soles wear out. Soak up as much information from your summer job as possible. Discover new pockets of the city or town you’re in. Take a film photography class or try kickboxing à la the Hadids or just sit in your room writing poetry with the air conditioning blasting. Meet new people, and stay present when making connections, but don’t think of them as this missing piece that can complete you. Basically, do what serves you and makes you feel whole, all on our own. Remember: You’ll never be by yourself when you’re the love of your own life.
Look, I know what you’re thinking. Stfu, Iman! And honestly? Fair! Reader, I want you to have the hot vax summer that you deserve — whether that means dancing on tables or watching anime on Netflix. So, listen when I tell you that you will experience that all-consuming summer love that sweeps you off of your feet, but not at the expense of staying present, building connections, and prioritizing yourself. Follow these three steps, and the rest will come. I guarantee it. That’s what I did, anyway — and now I live with the poor guy.
Falling for yourself? That’s a forever kind of thing.